Client experience: Are you a little bit custard?

In a fast-moving, connected economy, client experience is critical.

There’s clear evidence that if we’re not focussed on experience, our bottom line suffers. A recent study by Watermark found firms delivering distinctive client experience outperform the market, generating a total return 35 points higher than the S&P Index. In stark contrast, companies not prioritising client experience lagged more than 45 points behind the broader market.

But client experience is a bit like exercise: we know we should do more of it, but getting started is hard.

We don’t start because we know we’ll look a bit wobbly in our lycra and that it’s going to be reasonably painful at first. And often, there’s a deeper reason there for not exercising: maybe someone told us once that running was only for losers, or that if we run, we’ll have to cut back on the booze.

Look, we'd rather not talk about it. OK?

Last week, I was having a conversation with a large professional services firm who want to get started with client experience. Great! We danced around the need for it, spoke about broader trends, bottom line benefits and work done to date, but doubt lingered. It took us a while to talk about the deeper reason for resisting client experience. 

And that is that the custodians of client experience are human beings: your staff, your people. This firm was worried that the custodians of their client experience were, well, a little bit custard. Fantastic professionals, but not so brilliant on the personal skills. It’s a common concern. But, here's the thing.

You don’t need a team of legends to deliver distinctive client experience.

You simply need a few people who can champion the cause, role modelling the behaviours you know will drive client experience forward. If you can capture those desired behaviours in a client experience framework, it’s then much easier to support your entire team to level up to delivering better client experiences.

Speaking from the perspective of a frequently lapsed runner, yes, those first few runs are painful. But the exhilaration that comes with consistency is what keeps you lacing up your boots.

It’s the same with client experience. 

Emily Verstege